Eastin DeVerna: co-creator, writer
Kay Baird: co-creator, art
Shawn Daley: letters, logo
Grim Wilkins: back up story art
“High up in the Windy Mountains, there is a tomb. And there are rumors about this tomb.”
Aylward is the ancient guardian of The Tomb of Livia. When the Northern, Middle, and Southern kingdoms of the Great Sphere plunge into a three-pronged war once again events are set in motion that will trigger the beginning of the end times, and Aylward will soon find that the fate of the realm is a heavy weight to bear, indeed.
A. Guardian is a character driven epic fantasy, highlighting five main players from across the kingdoms and their struggles for power, love, belonging, and survival in a fantastical, mysterious, and hard-hearted world. Think: Game of Thrones meets Iron Giant.
That’s one heck of a combo for a description of what one can expect upon tearing into the pages of your project. Each of those titles elicits a very particular tone and look. From the preview that we’ve had a chance to look over A. Guardian appears to be up to the task. The setting is very much “of the North” and the glimpse we got of Aylward is certainly befitting of an Iron Giant comparison. We spoke to co-creator and writer, Eastin DeVerna, to get a bit more info and see just what this newest project is all about:
Ok, so you and Shawn Daley have worked together as most know. How about Kay Baird and Grim Wilkins? How did they come aboard for this project?
I was a huge fan of Kay’s art from the second I saw it, and she’s a fantastic story teller. There is one piece in particular that really stood out to me that she did, it’s a massive sort of golem creature, looming and still, with this huge sword, and that was exactly the kind of vibe I had in mind for Aylward from A. Guardian. So once there was enough material of A. Guardian to get going into production, I reached out, pitched the idea and luckily she really liked it and came on board — it’s been a blast working with Kay on this book!
I’ve always loved Grim’s art as well, since I first saw his work on Mirenda. He had done some work on covers for some other things I’d written, one being The Runner (the other soon to be announced!) and I would always tell him to let me know the second he had some free time to collaborate on something a little bigger. The timing with A. Guardian was perfect, I had the idea for the short story, right around the same time he let me know that he had a little opening — it’s such a fun little story and I can’t wait for everyone to check it out!
GoT meets Iron Giant … What aspects of these properties are on display in A. Guardian?
A. Guardian is set in a massive, epic fantasy world, certainly dark at times, with a focus on multiple characters from all over — they’re all intertwined and their decisions and actions have huge repercussions on one another, even if they don’t know it right away.
In regards to Iron Giant, through the lens of epic fantasy, A. Guardian explores the question of morality being inherent, or simply a construct and a facade, as well as exploring the concept of free will and whether or not it exists as an illusion. Without getting too spoilery we wanted to explore that aspect of choice, which always resonated with me in Iron Giant.
We’ve got the tomb itself and the guardian but what is the true nature of the relationship between the two (spoiler free version)?
That’s the big secret! I can’t really get into that without spoiling it! #whatsinthetomb haha
There’re 3 kingdoms and 5 main players (of which I’m guessing our tomb guardian is one). There’s an extra there, do I smell something afoot?
Three of our main characters (including Aylward the guardian) hail from the Middle Kingdom of Kanoc, where the Tomb of Livia is. Then we have a warrior from the Southern Kingdom of Sul, and then the queen of the beast folk from the Northern Kingdom of Thirio. Their stories are all connected in one way or another, some more so than others.
The plan is for 2 volumes so is it safe to assume we’ve got a big world to explore?
Oh yes, massive. Volume I is our first arc, we get to know the characters, learn about the lore and legend of this world and things really start heating up. Volume II will absolutely explore more of this world while continuing and finishing out the main story arc.
Anything specific about the book or creative team you’d like to share?
Really, we just want to say thanks to everyone who’s supported us and is taking a chance on this book. We’ve all worked long and hard at it (still are) and just can’t wait to get the book out into the world